5 comics to read in September: Endings and beginnings for fairies and gods
For many people, September represents a return to school and work after a long summer. For students, September heralds the start of a new year as much as January does. In keeping with that tradition, this month’s comics focus a lot on beginnings and endings.
A new two-part series from DC shows the myriad ways in which the present world will end, paving the path for the Legion of Super-Heroes’ future. The Wicked & the Divine reaches its epic conclusion, while The Dark Crystal’s origins are further explored in comic form.
Below, check out our picks for which comics to check out this month.
Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1 (DC Comics)
Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Jim Lee, Dustin Nguyen, Andrea Sorrentino, and Andre Lima Araujo (artists)
After years away from DC continuity, the Legion of Super-Heroes is finally back… well, almost. Before the new ongoing Legion of Super-Heroes comic launches in November from writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Ryan Sook, this two-issue miniseries will fully reintroduce them by portraying the iconic super-team as the culmination of every DC story set in the future. A character from DC’s present discovers they’re immortal and finds themself on an endless pilgrimage through the settings of Batman Beyond, Kamandi, and more, until finally arriving in the 31st century.
“So by the time the character literally walks up to the Legion at the end of Millennium, she has with her an astounding amount of information and inspiration to give them, which is different from past Legion stories,” Bendis tells EW.
The Wicked & the Divine #45 (Image)
Kieron Gillen (writer), Jamie McKelvie (artist)
Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie have formed one of the most reliable creative teams in comics for the past decade. On top of brilliantly reinventing Marvel’s Young Avengers book in 2013, they have crafted a truly epic saga in which pop stars are synonymous with gods. No, literally — in addition to the quasi-religious devotion that many modern musicians receive, the characters of The Wicked & the Divine are literally the reincarnations of primal deities like Baal and Morrigan. The story has thus doubled as a meditation on devotion, as well as an engaging mythological mystery.
The final issue is here this month, so use it to catch up and reflect on the series’ run. As a bonus, the final issue comes with a hilarious variant cover by Nancy cartoonist Olivia Jaimes. Order it here.
The Umbrella Academy Volume 3: Hotel Oblivion (Dark Horse Comics)
Gerard Way (writer), Gabriel Bá (artist)
One of the most welcome pop culture convergences of the past year has been the long-awaited adaptation of The Umbrella Academy hitting Netflix at the same time that the surreal superhero comic finally returned from a decade-long hiatus. Co-creators Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá have been busy in the years since (Way and My Chemical Romance released their final album, Danger Days, in 2010, while Bá worked with his twin brother, Fabio Moon, on the Eisner-winning 2011 graphic novel Daytripper), but the time off allowed them to fully recharge their creative juices for The Umbrella Academy. Hotel Oblivion brilliantly lays out answers to long-standing plot threads — Who is that mysterious rich jerk John Perseus? What did team founder Sir Reginald Hargreeves do with the supervillains his adoptive children defeated? — in a way that makes the long wait worth it for dedicated fans of the comic. But even for fans who only know the franchise from the Netflix series, this volume should make a fantastic introduction to the weird world Way and Bá have built on the page.
Pre-order The Umbrella Academy Volume 3: Hotel Oblivion here.
Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance #1 (Boom Studios)
Nicole Andelfinger (writer), Matias Basla (artist)
Netflix’s The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is a wonder. The new series, a prequel to the 1982 cult fantasy film directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz, is a visual masterpiece of puppetry and practical effects. It’s as accessible to new viewers as it is to longtime fans of the franchise, but those in it for the long haul know that comic books have kept the torch of The Dark Crystal burning in the years since the original movie. At one time a sequel film was planned, titled Power of the Dark Crystal; though it was ultimately scrapped, it lived on in comic form. And now the universe of the prequel series will get expanded in the pages of a new comic from Boom Studios.
Pre-order the first issue here.
Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass (DC Comics)
Mariko Tamaki (writer), Steve Pugh (artist)
Harley Quinn is everywhere these days, but you’ve never seen her like this. The latest installment in the DC Ink line portrays an alternate world where the world-famous femme fatale is just a student at Gotham High, raised by drag queens and excited about everything. Harley’s most important relationships (with the Joker and with Poison Ivy) are modified in fascinating ways while still retaining their core dynamics. Ivy, for example, is a community activist who asks Harley’s help mounting a protest against the school’s sexist film club — which ends up being Harley’s first time wearing a clown outfit. Pugh’s fantastic art makes this unique world come alive, and also creates a unique take on the Joker — not easy to do in today’s zeitgeist!
That’s not even the extent of this week’s Harley and Ivy content. Over in the mainstream DC continuity, Jody Houser and Adriana Melo begin the new miniseries Harley Quinn & Poison Ivy, showing how the gal pals are dealing with the aftermath of Heroes In Crisis and navigating the nascent “Year of the Villain.”